Industry 4.0 is undoubtedly the main challenge for the industry of the future. Digital has become essential for companies that wish to remain competitive in the future world. Business operations and production methods are set to be radically changed. Here is what the challenge of digital transformation entails.
Industry 4.0 is both exciting and worrisome. The transformations it requires are profound, but companies that can adapt to them will gain a competitive edge. When we talk about Industry 4.0, we are referring to the fourth industrial revolution, which is underway. The first three revolutions were mechanisation, industrialisation, and automation.
With Industry 4.0, production systems become more intelligent thanks to connected objects and cyber-physical systems. The industrial landscape will be more and more modified by this new reality. The factory will no longer just be the place where production is carried out, but also a real platform for digital. The digitalized service will gradually become more important than the manufacture of the product.
The factory of the future will see the entire production chain networked. The machines will be autonomous and capable of operating intelligently. Factory 4.0 will adjust production in real time according to demand. The product will be traceable at all stages of production. Even the after-sales department benefits from traceability. Productivity is optimised since any waste is avoided and any problems are immediately identified.
In addition, the factory of the future simplifies operations and the exchange of information is made easier and clearer for all those involved. Operations and production are optimised all the more since breakdowns and manufacturing defects can be predicted.
The landscape of Industry 4.0 is made up of highly connected and digitalized industries based on the IoT (Internet of Things). Production tools will be increasingly controlled and connected. Production is optimised and the process involves both service providers and the final consumer.
Contrary to the industry of the past, which constantly required human intervention, Industry 4.0 tends towards complete autonomy. The person in charge of interventions in production is immediately contacted when needed in case of a breakdown or an update to be carried out.
The products inside this new system are perfectly traceable. It is possible to know where the product is manufactured and also to follow the manufacturing process. The entire product cycle can be tracked, from manufacture to delivery to the customer. The analysis of the return from the customer is also included in the process. The analysis of IoT data not only improves productivity, but also safety within the production process.
Most of the new digital technologies are used in Industry 4.0. Mobile and web applications are widely used in data management and in the production process.
IIoT, the Industrial Internet of Things, also comes into play in Industry 4.0. IIoT refers to interconnected devices as well as sensors that are networked with industrial computer applications. Energy management is included in the process. Through IIoT, data collection, exchange and analysis can be carried out. Productivity and efficiency are greatly improved.
Cobotics is also at the heart of the connected plant. It implements the relationship between man and robot. The two work together to achieve a common goal. It is not only about the study of robots but also about the interaction with humans. The industry of the future must integrate this new reality.
Benefits of the industry 4.0
The advantages of transforming the industrial landscape are numerous. Real-time demand is facilitated by optimised productivity and greater flexibility in the production process. The products are of better quality and they offer a high level of traceability, from manufacturing to customer acquisition.
At a time of ecological concerns, the gains in energy savings are of great value. The factory of the digital age is much less energy dependent and waste is limited to a minimum. The issue of security is not negligible either. By analysing data relating to production and its environment, all work-related risks can be identified and eliminated.
Maintenance in terms of production tools is another considerable advantage of the transition to Industry 4.0.
The development of Industry 4.0 implies an improvement in the ability to predict malfunctions in machines and automatons. Data on their behaviour is analysed and predictive models are created that ensure almost perfect maintenance. Ideally, all shutdowns caused by malfunctions should be completely prevented.
The savings generated by predictive maintenance are considerable. The consequences of machine breakdowns and stoppages have catastrophic consequences. Production quality and staff organisation no longer have to suffer the disorganisation problems caused by the difficulty of anticipating breakdowns.
The need to adapt
It is clear that companies must be constantly ready to evolve and adapt to technological developments in order to stay alive. The opportunities offered by the digital industry are numerous. The consumer himself is increasingly familiar with connected objects and has very high expectations. The industry must therefore be able to offer them what they expect.
Digitalisation has become indispensable. Companies that are unable to adapt to it or refuse to embrace it are simply destined to disappear. It remains to master this technology as much as possible in order to impose itself on an increasingly competitive and innovative market.
Major challenges for the industry
Several challenges await the companies called upon to develop in the context of Industry 4.0. First of all, they will have to grasp the concept of the digital industry in its entirety. All the possibilities offered by this development are not yet clear and innovation will be required. Universities will have to train specialists who can facilitate integration into the digital industrial landscape.
Digitalisation will have to be integrated into the company's strategy and not be considered as a peripheral activity. Tools and interfaces will have to be designed in such a way that they are intelligible at all levels of the company. It is therefore important to train employees in relation to this new reality. As well as being familiar with digitalisation, they will have to be good communicators.
The factory will also have to meet the challenge of ensuring interconnection at all levels of the production process and even to follow up once the product is manufactured. The more complete the interconnection is, the better the company will perform and avoid wastage while avoiding breakdowns and defects in the manufacturing process.
It goes without saying that one of the challenges will be to manage and use ever-increasing volumes of data. It will be essential for the company to collect, filter and analyse data in real time in order to function well in today's industrial landscape.
For more information or assistance in this area, Ryax can help you. Contact us now!
La Ryax Team.